Unemployment Plummets in Detroit Metro (3.7%)—Beating L.A. (4.3%), New York (4.3%) and Boston (4.0%)

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 2, 2017 | 3:34 PM EDT

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(CNSNews.com) - The unemployment rate plummeted in the Detroit metropolitan area over the past year, dropping more in the period from June 2016 to June 2017 than in any other large metropolitan area in the United States, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last June, the Detroit metro area had an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, according to BLS. This June, it was 3.7 percent--even as the local labor force increased.

As a consequence, the Detroit metropolitan area now has a lower unemployment rate than the Los Angeles, New York and Boston metropolitan areas.

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich., metropolitan area, according to BLS, is one of the 51 large metropolitan areas in the United States that has a population of one million or more.

“Forty-three large areas had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases and eight had increases,” said BLS. “The largest rate decrease occurred in Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich. (-2.0 percentage points).”

Within the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area, the “metropolitan division” that includes the communities in Wayne County (the Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia metropolitan division) had the largest decline of any metropolitan division in the country, and it was larger than the decline in the overall Detroit metropolitan area. (This metropolitan division includes the actual city of Detroit.)

“Eleven of the most populous metropolitan areas are made up of 38 metropolitan divisions, which are essentially separately identifiable employment centers,” said BLS.

“In June, 25 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, 12 had increases, and 1 had no change,” said BLS. “The largest rate decline occurred in Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Mich. (-2.2 percentage points.”

In the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area, the civilian labor force climbed from 2,074,843 in June 2016 to 2,086,284 in June 2017—an increase of 11,441. (The civilian labor force includes all persons 16 and older who are not on active duty in the military or confined to an institution such as a prison or a nursing home and who either have a job or actively sought a job in the previous four weeks.)

At the same time, the number of people unemployed in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area dropped from 118,349 to 77,728—a decline of 40,621 (A person who is unemployed when they do not have a job and have actively sought one in the last four weeks.)

This increase in the number of people employed—which significantly outstripped the increase in the labor force—resulted in the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn unemployment rate dropping from 5.7 percent in June 2016 to 3.7 percent in June 2017. (The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labor force who did not have a job that month but were actively seeking one.)

Within Wayne County—in the Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia metropolitan division—the labor force increased from 773,600 to 777,194 from June 2016 to June 2017, the number of unemployed dropped from 52,141 to 35,168, and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 to 4.5 percent.

The steep drop in the unemployment rate in the overall Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area (from 5.7 percent to 3.7 percent) moved it ahead of the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area (which dropped from 5.1 percent to 4.3 percent), the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area (which dropped from 4.8 percent to 4.3 percent) and the Boston-Cambridge-Nashua metropolitan area (where unemployment increased from 3.7 percent to 4.0 percent).  

When all 388 metropolitan areas in the United States are considered, the Fort Collins, Colo., metropolitan area had the lowest unemployment rate in June (2.1 percent) and the El Centro, Calif., metropolitan area had the highest unemployment rate (20.8 percent).

El Centro had the highest unemployment rate despite the fact that it had the largest decline in its unemployment rate (-3.2 percentage points) from June 2016.

The El Centro metropolitan area is in southeastern California on the U.S.-Mexico border. The second-highest unemployment rate of any metropolitan area was the Yuma area (20.5 percent), which is on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona.

Among the large metro areas with a population of one million or more, the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. Area had the lowest unemployment rate in June (2.5 percent). The Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio, area had the highest (6.4 percent).

The employment situation improved through much of the country from June 2016 to June 2017. “Unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 336 of the 388 metropolitan areas, higher in 45 areas, and unchanged in 7 areas,” said BLS.

“Twenty-six areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent,” BLS said.